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View Full Version : Justify using XP2 as only C41 film


Soeren
11-10-2009, 01:42
Hi Roger (and others as well)
I shoot and develop traditional B&W films such as Delta 100, Neopan 400, Tri-X etc. I shoot formats from 35mm to 13X18cm
I use Rodinal almost exclusively though sometimes Diafine and Finol (staining) is used as well.
I have and Use a CPE2+ so I have the means to do E6 (which I will) and C41.
Can the difference from traditional films, characteristics and look of XP2 super in your oppinion justify the extra work, cost etc of the C41 process?. In other words should I try it again* and process it myself?
It could possibly replace a lot of my traditional emulsion but not all.

*I shot some in 35mm years back and had them developed at a lab.
I liked the results back then.
Best regards

Roger Hicks
11-10-2009, 01:48
Dear Soeren,

Well, it's sharp, virtually grain-free by 400 standards, and scans better than 'real' film.

Home-processed, or processed at a good lab with a water wash (instead of just stabilization), it's probably as stable as 'real' film; or at least, it'll last a lifetime.

C41 in a CPE-2 is quicker than most 'real' films and probably comparable in price.

I've half talked MYSELF into doing what you suggest... I may well try it.

Cheers,

R.

Dave Wilkinson
11-10-2009, 02:27
I've mentioned before - I started using this stuff when it was XP1, and now find it particularly beneficial for scanning. I just wish Ilford would re-introduce the little dedicated chemical pack, that they used to produce for this film.
Dave.

john neal
11-10-2009, 12:26
Soeren,

The beauty for me is that you can under/overexpose wildly and still retain good detail, with very little obvious grain. Contrast can be a bit of a problem, but it does scan so well.

I have developed my own, but these days, just can't be bothered when dev only at the local supermarket is so cheap and quick, plus I can get a CD of proofs.

I did used to do my own C41 too (I have both CP-E and CP-E2) and then print my own cibachromes. I still have one or two that I printed 20 years ago that are as good as the day they were made. Of couse, this was in the days when I took two Retina IIC's everywhere - one for slide and one for B&W :)

mfogiel
11-10-2009, 12:46
Let's put the things straight: this is a film you want to use only if you cannot use a silver film, and /or you have to do some very high key shooting. It is well suited to female potraiture of the blondes.. The grain is very fine and the overall look can be sleek, BUT
- it is only an EI 200 film for normal contrast range at best - you lose the shadow detail faster than you can blink...
- it is less sharp than most silver films if developed correctly
- the tonality in midtones is a bit murky, and the shadows plainly sink

So, I would not hesitate to use it for certain jobs, but it is not anywhere near a well processed Tri X

Here are a couple of shots that are acceptable

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/204/484251968_135e3ec325_b.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/215/484285567_c6c4828fc2_b.jpg

Svitantti
11-10-2009, 13:25
Home-processed, or processed at a good lab with a water wash (instead of stabilization), it's probably as stable as 'real' film; or at least, it'll last a lifetime.


Excuse me?

I think the stab is there to stabilize the film, also to last longer. Where did you get the idea that using water instead would make a C41-film last better?

rpj
11-10-2009, 13:50
What about the work by Matt Alofs at 1pt4?
http://www.1point4photography.com/blog/ilford-xp2-stand-developed-in-rodinal/
His results look pretty good. Has anyone else tried this?

Roger Hicks
11-10-2009, 13:52
Excuse me?

I think the stab is there to stabilize the film, also to last longer. Where did you get the idea that using water instead would make a C41-film last better?

Sorry. I should have made it clearer: I have since amended my original post to read 'not just stabilization'.

Where did I get the idea?

From talking to Ilford...

Cheers,

R.

Michael Markey
11-10-2009, 14:02
I started off by using HP5 . Processed and scanned by ILford .I didn`t like the result.
I started to scan my own and , much to my surprise ,the results were better. I have recently started to use Kodak 400 cn mostly because it is cheaper and quicker to get processed . £1 compared to £6.99 and quicker ,same day compared to two weeks.
I have now stocked up again with the Kodak but also with XP2. Has anybody got a view on how the XP2 compares to the Kodak 400 cn ?

Rhodes
11-10-2009, 14:02
What about the work by Matt Alofs at 1pt4?
http://www.1point4photography.com/blog/ilford-xp2-stand-developed-in-rodinal/
His results look pretty good. Has anyone else tried this?

I and yes it works quite good. My photos didn't come out so good but I liked the resaults. I bought rodinal just for this.
I posted here in the film section two of the photos!

Merkin
11-10-2009, 14:06
I find the C41 films to be fiddly, and depending on the lab, hit or miss. This may or may not mean that it would be difficult to develop yourself, I don't know. One thing that is for certain is that it does not nearly have the exposure latitude of traditional black and white films. IMHO, the raison d'etre of C41 black and white is for people who want black and white shots but don't have access to a darkroom. If you were already doing C41 for color, I would say give it a shot, but I don't know if it is worth the expense and learning curve just for xp2. If you are looking for a good black and white film/dev combo for scanning, check out www.figitalrevolution.com (i am not affiliated with the site), the guy who runs it (an rff member if memory serves) has reviewed a number of film/dev combos that are optimized for scanning.

Roger Hicks
11-10-2009, 14:09
I find the C41 films to be fiddly, and depending on the lab, hit or miss. This may or may not mean that it would be difficult to develop yourself, I don't know. One thing that is for certain is that it does not nearly have the exposure latitude of traditional black and white films. IMHO, the raison d'etre of C41 black and white is for people who want black and white shots but don't have access to a darkroom. If you were already doing C41 for color, I would say give it a shot, but I don't know if it is worth the expense and learning curve just for xp2. If you are looking for a good black and white film/dev combo for scanning, check out www.figitalrevolution.com (i am not affiliated with the site), the guy who runs it (an rff member if memory serves) has reviewed a number of film/dev combos that are optimized for scanning.

Interesting. This is the exact opposite of my view (and Ilford's).

Cheers,

R.

Dave Wilkinson
11-10-2009, 14:18
Interesting. This is the exact opposite of my view (and Ilford's).

Cheers,

R. and mine! - after using many, many metres of the stuff - in various formats, since it was XPI!
Dave.

Trius
11-10-2009, 15:21
I think Marek is spot on. "Latitude" is in the eye of the beholder. I have used both XP2 and BW400CN, and quite frankly have gotten some very good results. But the IE for optimal results is ~250 for me. I can get away with 320 or maybe even 400, but the shadows seem to dump quite quickly and have a blank look.

It is the mid-tone tonality that bothers me the most. At the best of times it is simply "different" from conventional or T-grain films, often it is simply flat and uninteresting. In high-key scenes it does better, as Marek suggests.

I have some (expired) Portra BW with me right now ... I don't think I dare try any drastic underexposure with it. Maybe I'll pick up a roll of XP2 and bracket some test shots.

The fine grain is very nice, but I don't think it's any better than TMY-2, which has a better look for me.

marke
11-10-2009, 17:06
I normally shoot BW400CN (or even XP2 when I have it) at 200-250 EI. But last week I thought I'd try to complete a shoot when I ran out of Tri-X. I set the meter at 400 and went for it. I was quite pleased. The venue has some pretty challenging lighting (hard to control and contrasty). Used my lux 50/1.4 pre-asph on these.

http://www.pbase.com/marke/image/119233601/original.jpg

http://www.pbase.com/marke/image/119192887/original.jpg

Merkin
11-10-2009, 20:01
and mine! - after using many, many metres of the stuff - in various formats, since it was XPI!
Dave.

perhaps it is just the consistently lousy labs in my area then. unless I really nail my exposure perfectly, I either end up with a muddy mess, a complete lack of shadow detail, or both. I always have to meter very carefully when I use it, but when I shoot hp5 or tri-x, i can just guesstimate and get results that range from perfect to at least printable. I have certainly seen loads of great shots made with both the ilford and kodak c41 black and white films, but I have never had anywhere near the success I have had with traditional black and whites. With that said, the c41 films do get run through my cameras from time to time, just for convenience's sake, and I like the films for that purpose.

MPerson
11-10-2009, 22:37
I have tried XP2 - at box speed - in Diafine and was pleasantly surprised. I am now trying several rolls from 200 - 1600 out of curiosity. Actually on my boxes of Diafine they state XP2 @ 200.

I have posted these before, so apologies to those that have seen them - Søren, et al.



MP | Summicron 35/2 ASPH | XP2 Super @ 400 | Diafine 5 + 5 | Coolscan



http://www.filmus-monochromus.org/galleries/xp2/p7hg_img_1/fullsize/xp2-diafineScan-090930-0027_fs.jpg




http://www.filmus-monochromus.org/galleries/xp2/p7hg_img_1/fullsize/xp2-diafine-scan-090930-0037-lr_fs.jpg



100% crop



http://www.filmus-monochromus.org/galleries/xp2/p7hg_img_1/fullsize/xp2-diafine-scan-090930-0037-lr-100_fs.jpg

Soeren
11-10-2009, 23:52
Thanks for all your replies guys. Im still undecided but I think Ill give it a go next time I need to refill the freezer. Maybe just "a kit" if such exists else the dev and a corresponding number of films. It may be a while cause I have way to many different makes right now.
Best regards

Svitantti
11-11-2009, 01:10
Roger: OK, thats better and I agree. Of course you should wash the film anyway between blix / fix & stab, but doing a good water wash instead of couple water baths will be even better.

amateriat
11-12-2009, 00:43
I have now stocked up again with the Kodak but also with XP2. Has anybody got a view on how the XP2 compares to the Kodak 400 cn ?
Both are quite good, although there are a few differences: some regard XP2 as having greater latitude, and therefore pushability. I tend to rate both films at EI 320, occasionally pulling XP2 down to EI 200. These are the "sweet spots" for these film types IMO.

On the practical end: Kodak BW400CN has an orange cast similar to their color-neg films. This helps somewhat in the way of getting fairly neutral machine prints from a 1-hour lab (most of the time...), but more or less puts the kibosh on b/w wet-printing at home; XP2, on the other hand, has no such cast/mask, allowing for easier work with it in the darkroom.

Of course, I'm scanning my film 90% of the time, so it tends to come down to how well a given film scans, and how the resulting file prints. I used to simply go with XP2, but now it's a bit of a toss-up. But BW400CN is also over a buck cheaper per roll over here, and I tend to buy this stuff one or two bricks at a time, so it adds up rather quickly.

One other practical matter in Rochester's favor: They've gotten the anti-curling thing down pretty damn well over the last few years. BW400NC, once I've got it cut into strips of six frames and laid out, exhibits little to no curling, which is a big deal if your scanner's film holder have a less than tenacious grip (mine are pretty good, but I've had holders in the past that weren't). XP2 can sometimes exhibit serious curl that requires techniques like reverse-winding ("B" winding, as they say in the world of cinema) inside a film can to deal with it. Working with Kodak film is just easier and faster in this regard.

(Speak of the devil...I'm going into Manhattan to pick up a brick of the stuff tomorrow, and probably several rolls of Neopan 1600 for a possible theater shoot on Friday, just in case the lighting is a bit more "off" than anticipated.)


- Barrett

shadowfox
11-12-2009, 12:13
I am almost running out of XP2, but I still have a couple packs of Kodak BW400CN in 120 format.

They scan well and the finer tonal scale is lovely especially in bigger formats.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2793/4098894006_2a2d6f5866_o.jpg

Kodak BW400CN shot at 200 EI.

amateriat
11-12-2009, 18:35
Will: Really nice! (Just got back from B & H with my haul.)


- Barrett

Rayt
11-12-2009, 19:42
I have been using XP2 since it was called XP1, as well as BW400CN when it was plain CN400 and then there was Portra 400BW. If you are shooting the stuff to scan then why not just shoot color C-41? The color information is very useful during post processing. I prefer tradition b/w for the tonality and b/w C-41 is a compromise of sorts but at least in color you can apply various filters after the fact.

shadowfox
11-13-2009, 08:47
Will: Really nice! (Just got back from B & H with my haul.)


- Barrett

Thanks, Barrett. Now I'm curious of what's your typical haul from B&H looks like ;)

amateriat
11-13-2009, 10:01
Will: depends on how flush I am on a given week, of course. :)

Yesterday: a brick of BW400NC, four rolls Neopan 1600, a 50-disc pack each of blank CD-R & DVD-R media, and a not-too-abused Leica lens hood for an early 35 f/2 Summicron, which appears to work, even though it's not the "correct" hood (which, if I could find it, would cost ridiculously more than this one did). That place really is an adult toy store (no, not those kind of toys...); it's a good thing I'm pretty happy with the gear I've got.


- Barrett

dfoo
11-13-2009, 10:05
It would be nice to buy some XP2 in bulk. Does anyone know if its available?

Michael Markey
11-13-2009, 10:15
Thanks Barrett that was useful. Not got `round to using the XP2 as yet.

amateriat
11-13-2009, 14:57
dfoo: Near as I can tell, XP2 isn't available in bulk.


- Barrett

Dave Wilkinson
11-13-2009, 15:36
dfoo: Near as I can tell, XP2 isn't available in bulk.


- BarrettCalumet - 100' roll - $69-99

eric rose
12-11-2009, 12:06
I just bought a 100ft roll of XP2 at my local camera store. Maybe it's old stock. I've done a lot of shooting in Latin America and always use XP2 for bright conditions and people pics. If it gets cloudy then the FP4 comes out.

peterm1
12-11-2009, 15:39
I particularly like the tonal rendition of this film. Nice smooth gradations across the range. Be aware its preferable to shoot it at ASA 200 rather than its normal 400 as this definitely gives nicer results. You can even shoot at 100 but I do not bother as there is not much image change between 200 and 100 but of course loss of half the speed.

GoodPhotos
01-10-2010, 19:48
Pardon my ignorance, but I've not shot a lot of film for quite some time as I moved to fully DSLRs for work back in 2002....but if you are going to scan the negs anyhow, why not shoot with a full colour C41 film and then take greater control of your B&W process via conversion in PhotoShop (or editor of your choice?) Back when we had only Panalure to print B&W from colour negs we were (rightly) very unhappy with the results, but a digital workflow has given us MANY more options for a better and more precise control of the image we want to create, why not use it?

amateriat
01-10-2010, 20:19
Michael: One reason has to do with the acutance of conventional b/w film vs color. (All those layers...) True, you can tweak things in PS to compensate to a degree, but from my experience it takes more effort, which IMO sort of blows away the "simplicity" of simply shooting color and converting.

Also, I find scanning b/w film a fair amount less bothersome than color in terms of post-scan tweaking. Not that color is crazy to deal with per se, but a b/w scan just works with less futzing around in PS, at least in my experience. (This also goes for chromogenic b/w film, interestingly enough.)

There's always digital capture, of course, but it's not the dominant format in my work.


- Barrett

Roger Hicks
01-11-2010, 00:33
Pardon my ignorance, but I've not shot a lot of film for quite some time as I moved to fully DSLRs for work back in 2002....but if you are going to scan the negs anyhow, why not shoot with a full colour C41 film and then take greater control of your B&W process via conversion in PhotoShop (or editor of your choice?) Back when we had only Panalure to print B&W from colour negs we were (rightly) very unhappy with the results, but a digital workflow has given us MANY more options for a better and more precise control of the image we want to create, why not use it?

Sharpness. Tonality. Ease. Speed. Having tried the conversion route, XP2 is simply easier. Also, as Frances still wet prints all our B+W except the occasional illustration for an article, there's no contest at all.

Cheers,

R.

estudleon
01-11-2010, 04:51
At EI 200 the lost of resolution is great, but good contrast and range tonal. The best resolution I find in @ EI 600. Perhaps from there, the compromise ISO 400. In high key images, I like the EI 600. In low key, I like the XP2 S. at EI 300. All with incident meter.

Rino.

Doug
01-11-2010, 18:07
I've mentioned before - I started using this stuff when it was XP1, and now find it particularly beneficial for scanning. I just wish Ilford would re-introduce the little dedicated chemical pack, that they used to produce for this film.Dave.Amen. I think I still have one of the 84-oz kits...

Vincent.G
01-20-2010, 17:27
Has anyone tried rating XP2 @ 100 when shooting in highly contrasting situations such as outdoors during noon time on a clear sunny day?

raid
01-20-2010, 17:55
I use XP2 mostly at ISO 200 but also use it at ISO 400 when I need the extra speed.

kshapero
01-20-2010, 17:56
XP2:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2800/4292110334_6e5c28ab78.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/4292109798_666861b911.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2719/4291368331_2eb2ac9540.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2737/4292108430_e469ddcaf2.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2790/4291367129_ff9969e486.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4034/4292107286_c8de2d3264.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4022/4292106590_d53e147222.jpg

raid
01-20-2010, 18:12
What are current "good" prices for a roll of XP2 24 exp?

Vincent.G
01-20-2010, 18:20
What are current "good" prices for a roll of XP2 24 exp?

Raid, do they sell 24-135 XP2? I have seen 36-135 XP2 only and they sell for about $4 a roll. I usually buy in a pack of 10 rolls.

Vincent.G
01-20-2010, 19:05
Hi Roger (and others as well)
I shoot and develop traditional B&W films such as Delta 100, Neopan 400, Tri-X etc. I shoot formats from 35mm to 13X18cm
I use Rodinal almost exclusively though sometimes Diafine and Finol (staining) is used as well.
I have and Use a CPE2+ so I have the means to do E6 (which I will) and C41.
Can the difference from traditional films, characteristics and look of XP2 super in your oppinion justify the extra work, cost etc of the C41 process?. In other words should I try it again* and process it myself?
It could possibly replace a lot of my traditional emulsion but not all.

*I shot some in 35mm years back and had them developed at a lab.
I liked the results back then.
Best regards

I used XP2 as an introduction into b&w photography due to its ease of developing from photo labs. I am not very much into the technical aspects of the film but as far as I am concerned, it produces pictures with tones that I like. I am still learning about the characteristics of this film so I use it whenever or wherever I can. Now I am also starting to try traditional b&w films and give developing my negatives a go. So my situation is quite opposite of yours. I enjoy using XP2 and I believe you will not regret using it.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4062/4208020217_2da0fa7ca6.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2710/4284965684_cd33a518fd.jpg

raid
01-20-2010, 19:13
Raid, do they sell 24-135 XP2? I have seen 36-135 XP2 only and they sell for about $4 a roll. I usually buy in a pack of 10 rolls.

Vincent,
There is a private label version of the XP2 in 24 exp at $2/roll. It is slightly expired.

01-20-2010, 20:54
Hi, Thanks for all the information here. I managed to find private label XP-2 on evil bay, they are charging around $2 a roll (24 exposure). And free delivery in the US if you purchase their 50 roll deal. ( item 310194587937). Does anyone have any experience with this ? I have contacted the seller Ultrafineonline and the private label does not have DX Coding. cheers! raytoei

amateriat
01-20-2010, 22:15
Vincent: No, I've only gone as low as IE 250, which works quite well. I usually rate it at EI 320.

Raid: "Too much" would be my answer, based on most of the places I know that stock the 24-exposure rolls (Adorama and B & H being exceptions). The one local shop here in the Slope that stocks it (Photofaction) is a bit steep, but I will buy it there in a pinch if time is at a premium, and I like to support them a bit for their bothering to do this (they even carry a bit of b/w chemicals as well, so I give props where props are due).

Akiva: Really good work there!


- Barrett

Doug
01-20-2010, 23:39
... I managed to find private label XP-2 on evil bay, they are charging around $2 a roll (24 exposure). And free delivery in the US if you purchase their 50 roll deal. ( item 310194587937). Does anyone have any experience with this ? I have contacted the seller Ultrafineonline and the private label does not have DX Coding. ...Hi-- I've dealt with UltraFineOnline several times with excellent service. Not for the private-label XP2 though, but I suppose it will be ok if they are not way out-dated. OTOH, I used to bulk-load XP1 and it was still fine after 20 years in the fridge. :)

soccerrick10
01-25-2010, 09:28
First, let me state that I am not a professional. So, all of my photography is for my own use. For years I tried to get something I was satisfied with out of BW film and the darkroom. I was never happy with the muddy results I got - there were just too many variables with film, exposure, developer, time, temperature, and my patience to get anything of value. So, for years, I shot slide film and fully embraced the digital world.

But, something has kept pulling me back to film. So, for 2009 and beyond, I committed to improving my skills and to get something I was pleased with out of the darkroom. I started by using a systematic approach (yeah, I know, I've gotten a lot smarter as I've gotten older). To minimize the variables, I am working with a very good C-41 lab and using just XP2 and BW400 film.

I'm spending as much time in the darkroom as possible to get photos I am pleased with. I now am producing pictures that I am proud to hang on my walls at home and in the office. I've also grown fond of those two films and better understand what they will do and how that fits my situation. I shoot both at ISO 320.

For 2010, I want to expand into developing my own film and am looking at options moving forward. But, both XP2 and BW400 are still my "go to" films because I've learned their strengths and weaknesses.

Rick

Doug
01-25-2010, 11:36
Rick, congrats on finding consistency and satisfaction!

kram
01-29-2010, 16:08
I used to use XP1 all the time. Went off photography for a few years, used mainly colour. Now I am doing mainly B+W. I seem to find different films suit diffrent combo for some strange reason. For instance, XP2 super in my GT MINOX is great. In my ZM I mainly use delta 100 or ATP 1.1. My Mamiya 7 I use colour (I still deciding what B+W works best for me in this camera, its not XP2 super). I am trying the 'new' TMax 400 at present in 35mm (still think I prefer XP2 super).

Beemermark
01-30-2010, 04:20
When I still had a darkroom I used both the Ilford & Kodak C41 B&W and never really liked them that much. Now that I've gone to scanning my negatives all I can say is why bother? It's easier to just use color film and then convert it when scanning or afterwords. I still like B&W film, even scanned, because I think it looks better printed the color film converted.

So, this is more of a question, is there any difference between B&W and Color C41 film when scanned?

Doug
01-30-2010, 12:28
...So, this is more of a question, is there any difference between B&W and Color C41 film when scanned?Hi - Any C41 film is easier to scan than traditional B&W. But I think your best way to decide whether B&W C41 is preferable to converted color C41 is to do both and see which looks better for you.

Ilford's lack of color mask should improve dynamic range. OTOH, recording color data can be useful in applying virtual contrast filters in post.

Roger Hicks
01-30-2010, 14:16
Hi - Any C41 film is easier to scan than traditional B&W. But I think your best way to decide whether B&W C41 is preferable to converted color C41 is to do both and see which looks better for you.

Ilford's lack of color mask should improve dynamic range. OTOH, recording color data can be useful in applying virtual contrast filters in post.
Dear Doug,

Exactly. I know which I prefer. But then, as far as I am concerned, wet-printed B+W is better again...

Cheers,

R.